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Meet the Lions

Meet the Lions!

Darlene Joaquin, Financial Services Supervisor, 15 years

Here’s some fun facts about Darlene.

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
    I have a few, but my all-time favorite would be all Harry Potter movies.  I could watch it everyday and it would still be as exciting as watching it the first time!
  2. What’s the best thing to do on a day off?
    If there are no baseball/softball games on the weekend, then relaxing and spending any quality time with my family going to the beach, having lunch/dinner together or just staying home & watching movies.
  3. What snack can you not live without?
    Ruffles or Lays chips with clam dip or French onion dip!
  4. What’s your go to music in the car?
    I love listening to my 90’s early 2000’s music.
  5. What are your pet peeves? 
    I don’t like it when all the lights are on in the house when it doesn’t need to be on or if the cell phone charger is still plugged on the outlet with no cell phone charging.
  6. What are 3 items on your bucket list?
    Travel to Jerusalem, travel to Italy, and do any ship cruise with my family.

Jasmine Juan-Leong, Empowerment Services Rep, 5 years

Here’s some fun facts about Jasmine.

  1. What’s the best thing to do on a day off?
    The best thing to do on a day off is absolutely nothing! Lol. Just kidding! I enjoy spending time with my little family! Ideally, we like to go to Waipi’o and spend the entire day down there! It’s so relaxing and a great way to “refresh”
  2. Tell us about your family, including pets!
    My “other half” and I have been together for (almost) twelve years! He’s my high school sweetheart. We have three kids! A six-year-old, an almost four-year old, and a one-year-old. We also have three dogs! So, it’s safe to say that it is NEVER a dull moment in the Kawamoto household. There is ALWAYS some type of ruckus going on! Lol.
  3. Who’s your personal hero?
    My Gramma is my personal hero! She was an extraordinary woman, and THE person that I always aspired to be when I got older. She was kind, gentle, loving, caring, knowledgeable, confident, giving, witty. But she was also fierce, intimidating, relentless, honorable. She was a highly respected individual, and even til’ this day, people that knew her tend to talk about her whenever they see me in town. I lost my Gramma to pancreatic cancer on November 10th, 2011, and since then, my life has never been the same.
  4. What’s your go to music in the car?
    My music genre will change constantly! Depending on who is in the truck with me! Lol. If my kids are in the truck, they’ve been requesting the Encanto soundtrack (We don’t talk about Bruno) If I’m by myself then I can almost guarantee you that I’m either listening to Josh Tatofi, Maoli, or 90’s Hip Hop and R&B. You never really know what you’re going to get when you ride in my truck! Lol.
  5. What’s your “superpower” (what you’re best at or hidden talent)?  I’m not sure if this is a hidden talent, but I’ve been singing my entire life! I was in ensembles when I was in High school (Mr. Washburn was my favorite teacher)
  6. What are your pet peeves? 
    I’ve got many personal pet peeves, to be honest. I can’t stand when the toilet paper roll is facing the wrong way (The ply is against the wall and not outwards!) I also can’t stand hair in the shower drain! (It makes me cringe) Another one of my pet peeves is when people mix up “your”, “you’re”, “there”, “their”, and “they’re.”
  7. Favorite spam related dish?
    My other half makes the best pork, beans & spam! So ‘ono! We have it often in our home.

Doring Aiaj, Accountant, 10 years

Here’s some fun facts about Doring.

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
    Moana. I love watching it with my daughter, Penny.
  2. Where is your favorite place to travel?
    The Marshall Islands.
  3. What snack can you not live without?
    I love ulu and taro chips.
  4. What are some of your personal goals and hobbies?
    I used to help our Marshallese church on Maui with the Sunday School, where we would take the kids to go and sing at the different local churches on the island. I hope to do that here someday with the Marshallese Sunday School kids.
  5. Who’s your personal hero?
    My Aunty Mae. She brought me to Hawaii and raised me as her own.
  6. What do you love about working at Hawaii First?
    The people. Without the team, I would be lost.
  7. Favorite spam related dish?
    Spam, with rice and kimchee.

Laura Aguirre, Kamuela Branch President/CEO, 30 years

Here’s some fun facts about Laura.

  1. Favorite movie?
    A Dog’s Purpose “Be here now”
  2. Favorite place to travel?
    Australia! Climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge in 2017.  So many beautiful waterways for commuting by ferry, lots of parks right in the heart of the city and best of all an awesome zoo on a cliff overlooking the Sydney Opera House.  Everywhere, you hear different languages being spoken, it is such a melting pot of people from all over the world.
  3. Tell Us About Your Family!
    Happily married 35 yrs, a step-mom to 3 daughters, an adoptive mom to 2 sons who are local boys and a daughter who is from Guatemala. A foster mom to 2 grandchildren who are 3 & 4yrs old. A fur baby mom to 3 adorable pups, Kismit, Perchance and Chase.
  4. Favorite Music?
    Country, favorite song, I Hope You Dance.
  5. What are your pet peeves?
    Rudeness…Kindness Matters!
  6. Why do you love working at Hawaii First?
    Providing hope in our community. Our team of lions who always go above and beyond for others.
  7. What are 3 items on your bucket list?
    1. Walk the Europaweg Skywalk – the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Switzerland.
    2. A Family Disney World Cruise – Post Pandemic
    3.  Family trip to Butchart Gardens in Canada
  8. Who was your first concert?
    Kool & the Gang

Lavina Hanohano, Kamuela Branch Supervisor, 15 years

Some other fascinating facts about Lavina.

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
    Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Originals
  2. What’s the best thing to do on a day off?
    Family work days on our ranch.
  3. What are some of your personal goals and hobbies? 
    My families personal goal is to move back to our ranch.
  4. Tell us about your family, including pets?
    My husband and I have been together for 26 years. We have 2 children together our son Micah (19), our daughter Mikelah (18), our adopted baby girl Kailee-Rose (4) that we have raised since birth. We have 5 dogs; Gunner, Girly, Le’o, Nala, and Buddy. Our family was very involved with the youth sports when my children was younger. Our family enjoys working together and enjoys each other’s company. My children and their happiness means everything to me and is my top priority.
  5. Who’s your personal hero?
    My personal hero is my grandfather Pepe who has gone to heaven. He was a hard worker and he inspired me to become a work hard. He is the reason I fell in love with the country life style. He raised 15 kids, 10 of which was not his own. He would live off the land in his younger years by diving, fishing, and hunting to support a family this big. I loved spending summers going to work with him in Ahualoa. If he was here today he would tell me to slow down and remember what he said, “Easy, Easy, Steady Steady…”  gets the job done. I miss him a lot.
  6. What’s your go to music in the car?
    Music with meaning, music that tells a story.
  7. What’s a personal pet peeve?
    Cleaning and rearranging where everything needs to be centered and balanced.
  8. What do you love about working at Hawaii First?
    This was my first job coming back into the workforce after being blessed to be a stay at home mom for 5 years.  Over the past 15 years Hawaii First has given me many learning opportunities to learn and grow. I came with cash handling experience, and no financial institution experience. Everything I learned, I learned here – the HAWAII FIRST FCU way. Throughout my journey, Hawaii First continued to help me put my family first, and about 4 years ago, I was able to bring my baby girl to work with me for 6 months -that’s what I love most about working here. It also has given me many opportunities to give back to my community, provide second chances and hope in the financial world. I believe in what you give is what you get back, so I do my best to give everything I have because I am extremely grateful for all the experience, lessons, values, and the opportunities given to me to touch a life and provide hope for a better financial future for families all while continuing to put my family first.

Tracy Branco, Financial Development Supervisor, 5 years

Interesting facts about Tracy:

  1. What’s the best thing to do on a day off?
    On my days off, I just enjoy the time I get to spend with my little family.  Weekdays go by in a flash – even when the day starts early and does not end until 11pm!  The to do list never ends!  Over the years I treasure staying at home so much more and enjoying the short precious family time we have.  Saturdays (our favorite day) turns into Netflix (or Disney) marathons, quick and easy lunches, and early family dinners.
  2. Tell us about your family, including pets!
    My little family includes my fiancé of 10 years, Taylor, our son, Camden, who is 7 years old, and our 9 month old baby, Haven.  We prayed for her so many years and she was our blessing in 2021!  We also have two dogs, Maya bear (yes we have a dog named bear), and Lia.  They are the sweetest who adore the kids!
  3. Who’s your personal hero?
    I have two very special people who I view as my heroes.
    The first is my dad.  His family had experienced several financial hardship and these tough life lessons helped shape his financial views.  He got his first job at a very young age delivering the newspaper – those were very different times.  He continued to work hard throughout his teens and adult life being a great role model of financial stability.  Looking back, I appreciate being shielded from the worries of life in my childhood.
    My second is my mom.  She showed me the importance of “family first”.  She was able to be a homemaker and focused all of her time and energy on my siblings and I.  At the time I did not understand all the sacrifices a mother makes until I became a mom myself.  She was always there for me and I will forever be grateful for her.
  4. What’s your go to music in the car?
    I usually have country music playing – especially when I have my kids in the car.  My son LOVES country music and reminds me that he is “raised on country”.   But every now and then, I will take it back and play some Akon and Ashanti (remember them)?
  5. What do you love about working at Hawaii First?
    I love our working environment!  Walking in to any of our branches, you feel a sense of “home”.  Our President, Laura, had personally decorated each office and you can tell!  The atmosphere has a calming nature even on the most hectic days.
    Our team is another!  I have the most understanding and patient management team.  We understand the “we’re one team” moto and do what we can to help each other.  This makes all the difference!
  6. What are 3 items on your bucket list?
    The first hope is to get married!  My fiancé and I have been together for 11 years (this year) and postponed our wedding plans three times due to the pandemic.  We started planning in 2019 with our original wedding date of 06/01/2020 – my grandparents wedding anniversary.  The pandemic hit and we postponed to 2021.  With the uncertainty of things, we cancelled for now.
    My second dream is to travel throughout Europe.  I would love to get on a train (like you see in the movies) and visit France, Italy, England, Ireland, and Portugal.  Hoping this is possible one day – I will need to start this savings fund now!
    Last but not least, is to obtain my degree.  After high school, was a Chancellor Scholar at the University of Hawaii at Hilo where I received a four year scholarship.  My goals had shifted in my early 20’s and I made the decision to no longer work towards my Business Administration degree.  Now, in my late 30’s, my hopes and goals has shifted again and I am hoping to attend college in the near future.
  7. What’s your “superpower” (what you’re best at or hidden talent)?
    Does female intuition count? I have always said, “women are magical creatures”.  I feel we have this intuition that is unexplainable and being a mom, that has amplified.   I recall a moment, in the middle of the night, where I sat up from a deep sleep to grab my son’s leg who was falling off the bed.  If that’s not intuition, I don’t know what is!
  8. First concert you ever attended?

    The first concert I ever attended was watching Gregory Issacs and Yellowman!  Yes, reggae legend Gregory Isaacs!  I was 16 and did not know what to expect.  It was so exciting, I loved reggae ever since.

Kiana Juan-Leong, Member Services Rep, 5 years

Interesting facts about Kiana:

  1. What’s your go to music in the car?
    I love my oldies when listening to music, but if I had to choose it would be The Temptations!
  2. What do you love about working at Hawaii First?
    I love the energy. It’s never a dull moment in the office, and our members are a constant reminder of why I love doing what I do.
  3. What’s the best thing to do on a day off?

    In my opinion, the best thing to do on a day off is kicking the feet up and enjoying the company of my family.

  4. Favorite spam related dish?

    Spam and green beans! Simple but so yummy!

  5. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
    I would be an owl.

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